Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal reveals how his conscience made him pass up a $40 million deal with Reebok — then go on to sell over 400 million pairs of affordable sneakers in Walmart.
Shaq’s reason to turn down $40 million Reebok deal
Nearly as famous for his endorsement deals as he is for basketball, NBA living legend Shaquille O’Neal revealed recently that his smartest business move was his decision to walk away from a $40 million deal with Reebok — and that he owes it all to a stranger who cursed him out while leaving the arena.
Why Shaq turned down $40 million and started an affordable sneaker brand
While appearing as the guest on the Full Send podcast (26 August 2021), legendary NBA player Shaquille O’Neal revealed how he walked away from a massive $40 million dollar deal with Rebook.
On the program he recalled a moment when he was confronted by a woman who scolded him for selling his signature Rebook shoes at a price that many of his younger fans could not afford.
“That day, I cut ties with Reebok,” he said of forgoing a $40 million deal he had with the brand following a moment of clarity. “I said keep the money… this ain’t right. I’ll still wear the shoes I do during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing,” he said.
“So, I started the Shaq brand. I went to my favorite store, Walmart, and we did a deal. I was in all stores and my price point for the shoes was $29-$19 and since then we sold over 400 million pairs.”
He added that he brought on designers from Reebok to join him in the new Walmart venture. “It’s not kids that don’t want to wear $20 shoes, they don’t want to wear shoes that look like they cost $20.”
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